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Summary: This is a sermon that remembers all the sermon series that we preached in the past year.

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December 25th, 2016

Christmas Day

Text: Ephesians 2:8-9

Subject: Year End Sermon

Title: Back Where We Started

Merry Christmas to everyone! What a blessing it is to be able to stand here with you and share my heart this morning!

I want to begin with this – Some of you may have seen my post on FB and on the church Facebook page from Thursday morning. I think I need to share that with all of you.

As I was going through my normal discipline of reading the Word and praying through my prayer list and then just spending time seeking the Lord and listening, I heard the Lord, not in my ears but in my spirit, and He was taking me back to my childhood days in Ferguson, MO before my mom and dad divorced. Family life wasn’t always the greatest then for us, but Christmas always brought something special. It was like the Christmas season brought us together somehow and on Christmas Eve our family was always together and at that time everything seemed perfect. There was the camaraderie and fellowship that families are supposed to have and the sensed of belonging. And on top of that there was the anticipation of what the next day would bring. The anticipation was heightened by our expectation.

And as I was before the Lord Thursday morning He spoke into my spirit, “This church is that family that you sought as a child, and the anticipation and expectation that you experienced is about to be unleashed in this family in such a powerful way that you will not be able to miss it when it comes.”

Hallelujah!

So we want to thank you all for being our family.

Not only is this Christmas Day, but it is also the last Sunday of the Year. And I thought about where we began the year and how we got to the place where we are today… you know, I presidential elections, one of the things that candidates ask is, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” My question to you today is, “Are you better off (spiritually speaking) than you were last year at this time”?

Today I want to look at the past year and hit some of the high points of the many sermon series that I preached in 2016, and see how we got to the place where we are today.

We begin today with this one basic scripture from Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

I believe this is God’s word…

I believe it is for me…

I accept it as mine…

I will appropriate it to my life today…

In Jesus’ name…

We began the year with a series about grace called Growing in Grace. And my focus through that series was to help you understand that grace is available to you at every point of your life story. Were it not for grace we wouldn’t even be hear today. Without grace you couldn’t get out of bed, work a job, have your breakfast or be here in church this morning. It is grade that puts breath in your lungs.

When we talk about grace, what is it that we really mean? The most popular definition of the word “grade” is this… grace is God’s unmerited favor… The words grace and favor are the same Greek word. IT IS THE GIFT OF God GIVEN TO YOU FREE OF CHARGE.

Our beginning scripture tells us that grace is involved in our salvation. God has done His part through His Son – His birth, His life, His death, His resurrection, and finally His ascension into heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father to intercede for you and me.

Grace has been given for us to be saved but it is not until we agree with God concerning His work and then receive it by our faith that we are saved. And the same holds true for every aspect of the total work of Christ on the cross. That work included or healing, our blessings, our authority, all of which we can only receive by faith. God has already done His part. Have you received any grace recently? If not, don’t you think it’s about time for your faith to kick in and to begin receiving grace, and then more grace, and then abundant grace. For the Lord gives us grace in proportion to our faith.

One of my favorite definitions of grace – and I guess it’s more than a definition, but an explanation of grace at work in you – grace is God’s power and presence manifested in your life. The early disciples were the proof of grace being continually poured out upon those who would receive it. They had received salvation by faith when Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit…” They were baptized in the Spirit’s power by faith on the day of Pentecost – another act of grace… Acts 4:33 (NKJV)

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